New Jersey Department of State New Jersey Department of State
Lt. Governor
Kim Guadagno
On November 3, 2009, the people of New Jersey elected Kim Guadagno as the first Lieutenant Governor in the state's history.
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New Jersey Department of State
P.O. Box 300
Trenton, NJ 08625

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NJ Historical Commission

NJSA 18A:73-22. Membership of New Jersey Historical Commission

There is hereby established in the Department of State, a division called the New Jersey Historical Commission to be composed of 17 members as follows:

(a) The Secretary of State, the State Librarian and the Chief of the Office of New Jersey Heritage in the Department of Environmental Protection, or their designees, who shall serve ex officio; and

(b) Ten citizens of the State to be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate, all of whom shall be chosen by reason of their expertise in New Jersey history and qualified by academic achievement or professional affiliation, who shall serve for terms of three years and until the appointment and qualification of their successors except that of the members first appointed two shall be appointed for terms of one year, two for terms of two years and two for terms of three years. Of the four members first appointed pursuant to this amendatory act, one shall be appointed for a term of one year, one shall be appointed for a term of two years and two shall be appointed for a term of three years. Public members of the commission shall be selected so as to provide a balanced representation of the various geographic regions of the State.

(c) Two members of the Senate to be appointed by the President thereof, and two members of the General Assembly to be appointed by the Speaker thereof. No more than one of the Senate and Assembly members shall be members of the same political party. Anyone appointed pursuant to this subsection shall serve as a member of the commission until the expiration of his term as Senator or Assemblyman, as the case may be, during which he was appointed.

L.1967, c.271; amended 1969,c.126,s.6; 1970,c.54; 1990,c.106,s.1.

NJSA 18A:73-22.1. Findings, declarations relative to support of activities in New Jersey history

1. The Legislature finds and declares that:

a. The Task Force on New Jersey History was established pursuant to P.L.1994, c.146 to study the ways history services are delivered to the people of this State and to make recommendations for improvements in the delivery of such services;

b. The Task Force conducted a detailed and comprehensive study and submitted its report to the Legislature and the Governor in June of 1997;

c. The report includes 36 recommendations for ways to strengthen the structure and function of agencies and organizations that provide New Jersey history services to the public;

d. In combination with other recent studies of aspects of New Jersey history and the cultural life of New Jersey, the Task Force's report provides indisputable proof that New Jersey's program of history services has suffered for many years from severe underfunding, especially in comparison with funding provided to other cultural interests in the State and to history services in other states; and

e. This underfunding has resulted in deteriorating historic sites and collections of historical artifacts and materials; inadequate education of collections management personnel in the techniques of collection preservation; inadequate training of volunteers who staff historic sites; insufficient research and publication on New Jersey history; inadequate maintenance and interpretation of State-owned and other historic sites; and low levels of innovation in and support of the tourism industry on New Jersey's heritage.

The Legislature therefore deems it necessary that the residents of a democratic and increasingly diverse society such as the State of New Jersey be provided with greater access to the materials of their history in order to understand how our society developed and to safeguard its continued free and open evolution; and that increased funding for history services is needed so that the agencies and organizations that provide these services can provide them more adequately to the people of New Jersey and their historical institutions.

L.1999,c.131,s.1.

NJSA 18A:73-22.2. Definitions relative to support of activities in New Jersey history

2. For the purposes of this act:

"General operating support" means support for expenses incurred in categories such as, but not limited to: wages, salaries and fringe benefits; insurance; utilities; installation and maintenance of appropriate environmental conditions in which to maintain collections; facility and equipment leases and rentals; facility maintenance; materials, supplies, and equipment; and staff training in museum operations, collections acquisition and maintenance, or management, exhibition, and presentation of educational programs for the public by historical agencies, organizations or entities;

"Historic site" means a structure or a site associated with the history of New Jersey that is on the State or National Register of Historic Places, or is eligible for placement on the State or national register, and that is owned or administered by a not-for-profit organization or by an agency of county or local government;

"Historical society" or "historical library"or "history museum" means a not-for-profit organization or an agency of county or local government that, within a museum or library environment, houses collections of New Jersey historical materials, presents historical collections to the public in the form of exhibitions or educational programs, and makes such collections available to the public for research; and

"Related agency or organization" means a not-for-profit entity that performs functions similar to those carried out by history museums, historic sites, historical societies, historical libraries, or historical agencies of local or county government for the purpose of providing history services, and that adheres to the same standards of performance as those museums, libraries, sites, societies or agencies, although its primary mission may not be the provision of New Jersey history services to the public.

L.1999,c.131,s.2.

NJSA 18A:73-22.3. Establishment of programs

3. a. The New Jersey Historical Commission within the Department of State shall establish:

(1) A program for the purpose of awarding grants from the fund established pursuant to subsection a. of section 4 of this act for general operating support to public or private historical libraries, history museums, historical societies, historic sites, historical agencies of county or local governments, or any related agency or organization; and
(2) A program for the purpose of awarding grants from the fund established pursuant to subsection a. of section 4 of this act to organizations, entities or individuals in support of research and publication on New Jersey history.

b. (1) The commission shall develop guidelines and criteria for each program established pursuant to subsection a. of this Section. The guidelines and criteria shall include, but not be limited to: eligibility requirements for applicants; conditions under which applications will be approved; conditions which may be required to be met by approved applicants; forms for applications; application contents; an application acceptance and review process; the manner of awarding of monies to approved applicants; and oversight or accountability for the expenditure of monies awarded to approved applicants. The commission shall establish program guidelines and criteria and advertise the programs in such a way as to develop a pool of applicants that reflects the racial, ethnic, and geographical diversity of the State.

(2) The commission shall develop the guidelines and criteria for each program utilizing the definitions set forth in section 2 of this act and in consultation with: Advocates for New Jersey History; New Jersey State Archives; Association of New Jersey County Cultural and Historic Agencies; Division of Parks and Forestry, Department of Environmental Protection; Genealogical Society of New Jersey; Historic Preservation Office, Department of Environmental Protection; League of Historical Societies of New Jersey; Newark Public Library; New Jersey Association of Museums; New Jersey Caucus, Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference; New Jersey Council for the Humanities; New Jersey Council for the Social Studies; New Jersey Historic Trust; New Jersey Historical Society; New Jersey Library Association; New Jersey State Library; New Jersey State Museum; New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance; Northern New Jersey Museum Round Table; Preservation New Jersey; and Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries. In addition, the commission shall consult with at least three historians distinguished by their knowledge of New Jersey history and their record of publication in the field in developing the guidelines and criteria for the program established pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection a. of this Section.

c. (1) All applications received by the commission for grants to be awarded under the programs established pursuant to this section shall be reviewed and evaluated by a panel of reviewers selected by the commission. A separate panel of reviewers shall be selected for each program. The commission shall identify a pool of potential panel reviewers for each program and shall select from that pool the panel for each program to review the applications received for the program. Each panel shall be composed of persons who are experts in the area for which the program provides support. The panel of reviewers for each program shall evaluate each application received for a grant to be awarded under the program and make recommendations to the commission.

(2) The commission shall make the final decision on each application received, taking into consideration the recommendations of the panel of reviewers. The commission, may within its discretion, offer an approved applicant an award amount less than the amount requested by the applicant.

d. (1) The commission shall inform the public about the programs established pursuant to subsection a. of this section in a manner determined by the commission to result in as wide a dissemination of information as possible within the limits of monies available to the commission for this purpose. The commission may utilize such methods for the dissemination of information as may be available to State agencies for the dissemination of information on other such programs.

(2) At the request of the applicant, the commission shall provide advice, in any manner the commission deems appropriate, to interested applicants on the preparation of their applications.

L.1999,c.131,s.3.

NJSA 18A:73-22.4. Establishment of fund, uses

4. a. There is hereby established within the Department of State a revolving, nonlapsing fund which shall be credited with the monies appropriated in section 5 of this act and such other monies as may be appropriated or made available to the New Jersey Historical Commission for the purposes of the programs established pursuant to subsection a. of section 3 of this act. The fund shall be administered by the Secretary of State and all disbursements from the fund shall be made by the secretary at the request of the commission. Disbursements from the fund shall be solely for the purposes of the programs established in subsection a. of section 3 of this act and disbursements for a program shall be made from the separate account in the fund created for the purposes of that program. Any interest that shall accrue on the monies in the fund shall be credited to the fund, and to each separate account within the fund as determined by the secretary.

b. The secretary shall create two separate accounts within the fund. The first of the accounts shall be credited with the monies appropriated or made available for the purposes of the program established pursuant to paragraph

(1) of subsection a. of section 3 of this act. The second of the accounts shall be the credited with the monies appropriated or made available for the purposes of the program established pursuant to paragraph

(2) of subsection a. of section 3 of this act.

c. Of the monies credited to the account created for the purposes of the program established pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection a. of section 3 of this act, the commission may annually expend an amount of up to 10 % of the monies in the account to undertake special initiatives to stimulate research and publication in the field of New Jersey history.

d. (1) Of the monies credited to the account created for the purposes of the program established pursuant to paragraph 1 of subsection a. of section 3 of this act, the commission may expend annually an amount of up to 1.75 % of the monies in the account for necessary expenses incurred for the administration of that program, including expenses in categories such as, but not limited to:salary and fringe benefits for one assistant grant administrator; office equipment and supplies; printing and postage to publish program guidelines and criteria and advertise the program; and travel and maintenance for the members of the review panel selected pursuant to paragraph 1 of subsection c. of section 3 of this act.


(2) Of the monies credited to the account created for the purposes of the program established pursuant to paragraph 2 of subsection a. of section 3 of this act, the commission may expend annually an amount of up to 2.0 % of the monies in the account for necessary expenses incurred for the administration of that program, including expenses in categories such as, but not limited to, office equipment and supplies; printing and postage to publish program guidelines and criteria and advertise the program; and travel and maintenance for the members of the review panel selected pursuant to paragraph 1 of subsection c. of section 3 of this act.

L.1999,c.131,s.4.

NJSA 18A:73-23. Expenses of members; no compensation; vacancies

The members of the commission shall serve without compensation but shall be entitled to reimbursement for expenses incurred by them in performing their duties as members of the commission. Any vacancies in the membership of the commission shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as the original appointments were made.

L.1967, c.271.

NJSA 18A:73-24. Organization

The commission shall meet, as soon as may be following appointment of its members, at the call of the commissioner.

L.1967, c.271.

NJSA 18A:73-25. Advisory capacity to public and private agencies

a. The commission shall be responsible for serving in an advisory capacity to State departments and agencies and public educational institutions in connection with activities concerned with State history. It shall advise such public and private agencies in respect to programs of historic research and publication, education, commemorative observances, preservation of historic sites and buildings, public exhibitions and other programs pertaining to the history of New Jersey and enlist the talents of historians, librarians and members of historic, patriotic and civic organizations concerned with the Statehistory in connection therewith.

b. The commission is authorized, within the limits of such funds as may be appropriated or otherwise available to it, to plan and execute programs for:

1. the production, publication and distribution of books, pamphlets, films and other educational materials relating to historical subjects;

2. conference, convocations, lectures, seminars and other similar activities relating to historical subjects;

3. the development of libraries, museums, historic sites and exhibits, including mobile exhibits;

4. ceremonies and celebrations and other commemorative activities commemorating specific historical events.

c. In carrying out duties and functions as provided in this act the commission is authorized to employ such assistants and incur such expenses as may be necessary therefor and as may be within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to it for said purpose.

d. The commission may receive gifts of money, property and personal services for carrying out the provisions of this act.

L.1967, c.271; Amended by L.1969, c. 126, s. 7, eff. July 2, 1969.

NJSA 18A:73-25.1. Legislative findings and declarations

The Legislature finds and declares that:

a. The Afro-American population of the State of New Jersey and the United States of America has made unique and indispensable contributions to the history of the State of New Jersey and the United States;

b. For many generations the role of Afro-Americans has been largely neglected in the writing and teaching of history, to the educational detriment of all Americans;

c. It is the responsibility of the government of this State to provide the people of New Jersey with opportunities to learn about the history of the State and the nation in an accurate and comprehensive manner; and

d. This Legislature has vested in the New Jersey Historical Commission the authority to plan and carry out programs to advance public knowledge of the history of New Jersey and the United States.

L.1983, c. 339, s. 1, eff. Sept. 6, 1983.

NJSA 18A:73-25.2. New Jersey Afro-American history program; establishment; purpose

There is established a New Jersey Afro-American History Program to be directed, administered and conducted by the New Jersey Historical Commission. It is the purpose of the program to promote the advancement of public knowledge of the history of Afro-Americans in this State.

L.1983, c. 339, s. 2, eff. Sept. 6, 1983.

NJSA 18A:73-25.3. Activities

The program shall include such activities as the commission deems desirable and practicable and shall include:

a. Conducting, sponsoring and assisting scholarly research and publication;

b. Conducting, sponsoring and assisting such public programs as conferences, symposia, seminars, workshops, exhibitions and performing arts programs;

c. Conducting and assisting oral history projects;

d. Producing student and teacher resource materials for use in teaching Afro-American history in the public schools of this State pursuant to N.J.S. 18A:35-1 and serving as a repository for these materials;

e. Assisting New Jersey libraries, museums and historical agencies in their efforts to collect materials relative to the history of Afro-Americans in this State;

f. Assisting historic preservation agencies and organizations in their efforts to preserve and interpret significant sites associated with Afro-American history in New Jersey; and

g. Serving as an information center and liaison among the various organizations and institutions in New Jersey concerned with Afro-American history.

L.1983, c. 339, s. 3, eff. Sept. 6, 1983.

NJSA 18a:73-25.4. Program director and other employee

The New Jersey Historical Commission shall employ a program director and such other personnel as may be necessary to implement the provisions of this act and as may be within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to it for this purpose.

L.1983, c. 339, s. 4, eff. Sept. 6, 1983

NJSA 18a:73-25.5 Findings, declarations, determinations relative to recognition of historical, cultural sites with roadside markers

1. The Legislature finds and declares that New Jersey, one of the original 13 colonies and crossroads of the American revolution, has a distinguished heritage, as evidenced by the abundance of sites witnessing significant historical and cultural events in the nation's history and important scientific and technological discoveries, as well as being home to many famous men and women who have made lasting contributions to the State and the world; and that it is the responsibility of the State of New Jersey to encourage local government units and civic organizations to recognize these sites by the placement of historically accurate roadside markers.

The Legislature further finds and declares that New Jersey has lagged behind other states in developing a standardized program to recognize sites of historical and cultural significance; that many of the existing markers Statewide are old and damaged; that no system is currently in place to inventory existing markers; and that there are many sites in the State, in addition to those listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places, which are of significant historical and cultural acclaim, and worthy of recognition through the placement of roadside markers.

The Legislature therefore determines that it is in the public interest to authorize the New Jersey Historical Commission to plan and carry out a program to encourage local government units, nonprofit charitable organizations, and civic organizations to provide for the placement of roadside markers at locations of historical and cultural significance in New Jersey; and that the creation of such a program would not only serve as a tribute to the people, places and events that have helped shape the State, the nation, and the world, but would serve to enhance community pride and encourage tourism throughout the State.

L.2009, c.264, s.1.

NJSA 18a:73-25.6 Program to identify, propose sites of historical, cultural significance

2. The New Jersey Historical Commission, in consultation with the New Jersey Heritage Tourism Task Force established pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2006, c.60, is authorized to establish a program to encourage local government units, nonprofit charitable organizations, and civic organizations to identify and propose sites of historical and cultural significance in the State, to be recognized by the placement of roadside markers. The markers shall feature a standardized design bearing the State seal, indicating that the site has been approved by the commission and that the marker meets standards for historical accuracy. In developing the program required pursuant to this section, the commission shall consult with the Department of Transportation to establish standards for the design, placement, and location of the roadside markers.

L.2009, c.264, s.2.

NJSA 18a:73-25.7 Application process; vendors; registry; notification program

3. a. The New Jersey Historical Commission shall develop an application process to be followed by local government units, nonprofit charitable organizations, and civic organizations to identify and propose sites for inclusion in the program. An application shall include but is not limited to the location of the proposed site and evidence to support its historical or cultural significance, and the proposed text for the roadside marker. If an application submitted by a local government unit, nonprofit charitable organization, or civic organization is approved by the commission and by the appropriate entity having jurisdiction over the roadway along which the marker is to be placed, the requesting local government unit, nonprofit charitable organization, or civic organization, as appropriate, may purchase, through an approved vendor, and erect a marker bearing the State seal, designating that the site has been approved by the commission and that the marker meets standards for historical accuracy.

b. The commission shall compile and maintain a listing of approved vendors and shall negotiate, to the extent practicable and feasible, a volume discounted rate for the purchase of markers by local government units, nonprofit charitable organizations, or civic organizations.

c. The commission shall compile and maintain a registry of approved sites and an inventory of markers erected pursuant to this act.

d. The commission shall conduct a notification program designed to inform local government units, nonprofit charitable organizations, and civic organizations of the existence of the program, through both printed materials and an Internet site.

L.2009, c.264, s.3.

NJSA 18a:73-25.8 Duties, authority of commission

4. a. The New Jersey Historical Commission, within the limits of funds appropriated therefor or otherwise made available to it, may (1) commence the roadside marker program as soon as may be practicable, and (2) take any administrative or personnel action as may be necessary to implement the provisions of this act.

b. The commission shall be authorized to raise funds, through direct solicitation or other fundraising events, alone or with other groups, and may accept gifts, grants and bequests from individuals, corporations, foundations, governmental agencies, public and private organizations, and institutions, to defray the commission's administrative expenses and to carry out its purposes as set forth in this act. The funds, gifts, grants, or bequests received pursuant to this subsection shall be deposited into an account in the Department of the Treasury and allocated and annually appropriated to the Department of State to defray the commission's administrative expenses in connection with implementing this act and to accomplish the goals and purposes set forth in this act.

L.2009, c.264, s.4.